The Grrr! Supremacy

Should it surprise anyone that NBC's summer reality series "Next Action Star" (search) fell flat on its face in the ratings?

After all, what good is seeking out the next Jean-Claude Van Damme (search) when the real one hasn't had a hit movie in over a decade?

That's why I can't wait for Friday and the opening of "The Bourne Supremacy," one of the only films of the year that I'm willing to endure opening night Oblivions for!

Matt Damon (search) is an excellent actor. Couple that with his athletic abilities and street smarts, and one has an action hero for the new millennium — this generation's Harrison Ford. But those aren't the only reasons Damon's action-star status will be solidified this weekend.

He's also a nice guy.

Several years ago I was up for the role of Robin in "Batman and Robin" that eventually went to actor Chris (Whitebread) O'Donnell...Grrr!

I ran into Damon and one of his good buddies at an Upper West Side bar in Manhattan, and struck up a conversation with Damon about his most recent film at that time, "Geronimo" (these were pre-Oscar days for Damon).

During the course of the conversation, I mentioned I had a few callbacks for Robin, and Damon was encouraging and even offered me some pointers on how to win the role.

Damon's buddy, on the other hand, wanted no part of my "intrusion," and started busting my chops behind my back, trying to get Matt's attention.

Damon looked at his buddy and said, "Dude, shut the hell up." His buddy complied.

I haven't missed a Matt Damon movie since, and I applaud his success and his ever-increasing position as the best of all the young Hollywood dudes, right up there with Will Smith and Mark Wahlberg. Now those three should team up for a movie.

Grrr! to all the other pretenders.

Don't Be a Girlie-Man ... Grrr!

To all the California state legislators offended by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's use of "girlie-men" to describe them: Lighten up.

Whoopi Is an Oblivion by Default ... Grrr!

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., thinks Whoopi Goldberg (search) represents the "heart and soul of America." So why did he distance himself from the crude jokes Goldberg made at a Manhattan fund-raiser two weeks ago, calling her remarks "inappropriate?"

All the Grrring on Goldberg — to be honest — is unwarranted.

Goldberg's made a career out of crude jokes, as have Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock and Rob Schneider, so one need not be surprised at what she said at the fund-raiser.

Politics have always been fodder for comedians. Perhaps booking Goldberg in the first place was the "inappropriate" thing.

I'm not saying her play on "Bush" wasn't inappropriate, but even the president of the United States has a sense of humor (although he'd probably say sarcastically: "Ooh. Never heard that one before")!

But now that Slim-Fast (search ) has dropped Whoopi from its ad campaign, she's saying her free-speech rights are being infringed upon.

Well, actually, no they are not. Just as Goldberg's remarks were meant to sway voters against President Bush, thousands of consumers used their right to free speech to sway Slim-Fast from using Goldberg as a pitch person.

Free speech isn't reserved for celebrities.

Banana Republic Obliviots ... Grrr!

Did anyone see the story about the New York finance worker who was arrested after security at a Banana Republic (search) store accused her of trying to return merchandise with a forged receipt?

This story is unbelievable, and it shows just how dangerous Obliviots can be.

According to the New York Post, Jill Druschke, 28, returned a $148 jacket during her lunch break from her job as an executive-in-training with AXA Financial.

Security had her arrested, accusing her of forging her receipt, claiming the ink that was used on it was different than ink used at all Banana Republic stores.

As a result, Druschke was fired from her $85,000-a-year job, pending the outcome of her trial. In the meantime, she's lost career momentum and a reported $100,000 bonus (Grrr!, I'm in the wrong business).

After investigating, the Manhattan D.A.'s office dropped all charges against Druschke.

Now she's suing The Gap (which owns Banana Republic) for punitive damages and lost wages.

A Gap spokeswoman told New York Post reporter Al Guart that "we don't discuss these types of issues."

Normally, I'm against lawsuits, finding most of them frivolous.

If the above account is true, however, I hope a jury finds big-time bucks for Druschke. What happened to her could easily happen to any one of us.

No Sugar Tonight in My Coffee ... Grrr!

I was in a Dunkin' Donuts (search ) shop over the weekend getting a cup of Joe.

The guy in front of me was yelling at the clerk.

"Don't put the sugar at the bottom of the cup. Put it in last. Otherwise it stays at the bottom and when you get to the bottom of your coffee, all you get is a mouth full of sugar," he said. "It's easy for you, but bad for the customer."

He then looked at me for confirmation. He stared a little too long at me, so I offered this, while holding up a stirring straw: "You should try one of these."

He snorted in response and turned away. Am I wrong here people, or was this guy king Oblivion?

Now For Your Grrrs

JJ from Vermont: I spotted an Oblivion in rural Vermont. I live in a condo complex where the street mailboxes are at the corner of the block. He sat in his car (engine turned off ), blocking access to the boxes, an Oblivion reading his mail. I parked behind his car. Another resident parked in front of his car with our engines running. We got out. I greeted the Oblivion by his name and with a smile. The other driver drove off shaking his head. All you can do is enjoy the mystery of Oblivions or go nuts.

Eeshimy in Barnegat, N.J.: My Grrr is with car-dealer radio ads that insult my intelligence, loudly proclaiming that 100 percent of qualified buyers will be approved. 100 percent. If you qualify for the loan, of course you will be approved. Then they say they will beat any other dealers' advertised price on the exact same car. Do you believe they will have that car in stock? How can they match another dealer's offer when you will never find the car that is in their own ad. The ultimate insult is the disclaimer at the end that no one can understand. Grrr!

P.S. The cartoonist really captured you at the coffee shop. Can we look forward to other cartoons in the future?

—Eesh! Yes, Toby Dials will be contributing a new cartoon every week, until he gets tired, anyway.

Mark in Arizona responds to Levi Gill in Colorado (last column): What a view and right on the money. That is what life is all about. If only we could all take the time to stop and think on this, this country would be quickly back on its way to what it used to be about. Thanks Mike for your column and for allowing all people the opportunity to Grrr! regardless of any kind of affiliation!

Doug in Stockbridge, Ga.: GRRR! to all Entertainers (EntertainIots?) and "celebrities" who think that their freedom of speech rights include a right to not have anyone voice their disagreement by not purchasing their products...These people fail to realize Freedom of Speech is not the same thing as freedom from consequences.

Josh in Cyber-Space: I am so tired of hearing how "express ordering" can save you time in stores! There is no excuse for "express ordering" taking 45 minutes to process when I could have gone, gotten the item off the shelf myself and been out of there in 10 minutes. To all the stores offering this modern convenience: 1) Make sure it works 2) Make sure the people have some clue that it is available and 3) Make sure things are stocked! Thanks for time to rant!

Dan Cooper at a baseball stadium: I attended a baseball game and have to share an experience I had with an ImporTant that sat next to me. It was a middle-aged lady there with her family. Apparently, since her family was sitting at the beginning of the row, you're only supposed to walk past her to your seats once during the entire three-and-a-half-hour game. Each time a person in our row got up to go to the bathroom or get refreshments, she would Grrr. Hey lady, it's not your living room! So Grrr right back atcha. Not to mention, half the time all she did was that backwards-foot shift so you'd have to tightrope it past her knees with your beer and hotdogs. Hey lady, get your a** up! Also, most people were waiting between innings to get up so it's not like she was missing any of the game....except that she was too busy reading the New York Times — at a baseball game — to notice our etiquette. Grrr!

Amy K. at the movie theater: A big "Spidey-Grr!" goes to that Oblivion I had the distinct displeasure of sitting next to when I went to see "Spider-Man 2." He brought his toddler to the film and they had an extensive — and loud — discourse through the entire film. The fact that his toddler was standing on his lap to get a better view was very much appreciated by those sitting behind him, too, I'm sure. You, sir, are the reason DVDs were invented! Oh yeah, and "Grr!" to ushers too for not spotting the disruption and taking care of it!

—Amy, Your Oblivion experience could have easily been avoided. You see, Mrs. Grrr! takes baby Maxine to Loews Theaters (owned by The Carlisle Group, incidentally: Michael Moore may want to re-edit his latest mockumentary) during their "Reel Moms" (search) programs. "Reel Moms" allows parents to bring their toddlers to special screenings, so people without kids don't have to Grrr! the distractions. Thanks Loews!

Rebecca in New Orleans hates lemons as much as I hate onions: Why do restaurants assume that everyone likes lemon in their tea, water, diet coke, etc?! Even when you tell them you don't want a lemon, they really don't hear you, and put it in there anyway. And when they do bring it to you with the lemon and you say you didn't want a lemon, they take it to the back, take the lemon off and bring it back to you like it's a new drink. Grrr! The lemon juice has already contaminated the tea.

Amanda C. in Columbus, Ohio: I am a third year student at Ohio State University who happens to be blond. I am sick of people assuming that since I am blond I am a complete idiot incapable of intelligent conversation. I like to think of myself as a well-rounded individual who can hold her own in any type of debate! I don't need to be talked to in the condescending 5-year-old, "Do you understand what I am saying" voice. That really makes me ... ugh ... GRRRRR!

Staff Sgt. Jim writes from base camp: Sir, ever since I started reading your column I have noticed that there are Oblivions in all places even in the Military. In the Base Exchanges (BX) there are signs stating that between the hours of 1100 (11:00 a.m.) and 1300 (1:00 p.m.) military members in uniform have priority. This is because it is our lunch and we have to return to duty. Last week I noticed that one Oblivion in civilian clothes held up the line writing out a check, and five GI's in uniform were waiting with cash in hand waiting to check out. After a few minutes of waiting, I pointed out the sign to the woman. At the top of her lungs she returned fire with, "My husband is an officer and you should respect his rank." It was the wrong thing to say to five career NCOs. She got the exact same answer from five different mouths: "Your husband wears the rank, not you, so kindly obey the rules." She left in an Oblivion huff with a red face and the line moved very swiftly after that. Oblivions do not like facts shoved down their throats, I think.

Lucy in Cyber-Space says "Don't even try": The reason I brought the book is so that I don't have to have conversations/fend off advances from Oblivions like you. And yes, asking, "What'cha readin'?" still counts. It's a book. If you would like to have a lengthy discussion about it, join a book club. I would just like to sit here, enjoy my drink and read my book. I do not want to talk to you. Did I look at you? Make eye contact? Speak to you? No! So why in the world do you think you need to saunter over here and strike up conversation? Plus, aren't you like twice my age? This happens to me constantly and it drives me up the wall. I have wanted to scream this for a long time now.

—Lucy, consider it screamed.

Cutting-Room Floor

Check out the piece on Animal Fair (search) editor-in-chief Wendy Diamond's new book "What a Lucky Dog," above in the video section. Diamond's book provides hints into men's personalities by the kind of dog he owns. Incidentally, while conducting this interview in Central Park, who other than FNC's war correspondent Steve Harrigan (search) happens by.

"Hey Mike, what are you up to?" he asked. I wanted to crawl under a rock. "Well, Steve, while you're dodging bullets in Iraq, I'm doing features on dog books," I said. Grrr!

Stupid Lit'l Dreamers

Took Mrs. Grrr! and baby Maxine to a Chili's in Eatontown, N.J. over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised with excellent service by a waitress named Lindsay. We had drinks refilled without asking, had special orders (no onions) accommodated with a smile, and despite the place being packed, we weren't rushed at all. It's the little things that mean a lot. Thanks Lindsay.

Until Next Week ... Grrr!

Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects for, columnist, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine."

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